PIL plea for mandatory disclosure of materials used in sanitary napkins, diapers

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday sought response from the Centre and the State on a public interest litigation petition that sought a direction to governments to issue directions to the sanitary napkin and diaper manufacturers to mandatorily disclose the materials used on the wrappers.

The court was hearing the petition filed by S. Ayyaa of Palayamkottai. He said that materials used to manufacture the sanitary napkins and diapers must be disclosed and mentioned on the wrappers of the product to ascertain whether the product was safe. People fall for advertising, cost and packaging instead of analysing the importance of hygiene, he said.

Petitioner said that governments have announced and implemented menstrual hygiene schemes. Though the schemes were progressive, it was necessary to note the ill effects due to poor quality of sanitary napkins. Toxins such as dioxin and trihalomethane were used. This could lead to diseases like cancer, infertility, hormonal imbalance and multiple menstrual disorders, he claimed.

The sanitary napkins and diapers must be made out of fully biodegradable and chemical free components in order to preserve health, the petitioner said. He sent a representation to the government, but no steps were initiated in this regard, he said. He sought a direction to the governments to make it mandatory for manufacturers to mention the materials used.

A Division Bench of Justices T.S. Sivagnanam and S. Ananthi observed that the petitioner had flagged an important issue. The court directed the Centre and the State to file counter affidavits in the case. The court said that it wanted to ascertain the parameters in place. The case was adjourned till July 7.

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